Four-Legged Heroes Save Lives
| July 7th, 2010

Italian Dogs Serve As Lifeguards

Yes, it’s true.  Newfoundlands, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are being trained by Italy’s Italian Dog Rescue School to serve as lifeguards.  There are approximately 300 lifeguard dogs on active duty patrolling beaches and lakes throughout Italy. 

The dogs begin their training in puppyhood and are not ready to start a career as a lifeguard for almost three years.  By the end of the training, the dogs are able to recognize swimmers who are in distress and conduct helicopter rescues. 

Although usually accompanied by human partners, the dogs are able to rescue people on their own.  The drowning person can grab onto the dog and be pulled to safety.  If they are unable to do that, the dog can drag the distressed swimmer in by his bathing suit, shirt, or his arm.  The dogs are also able to pull three people at a time to safety.  They can even drag a raft to shore.

These lifeguard dogs are extraordinary animals.   And so is your dog.  Maybe he’ll never save a swimmer in distress, but there are plenty of other tricks he can learn.


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